Dear Ms. Allison: My mother passed away. The house we live in is in her name. Mom had no Will so how do I get her house put in my name? I do have other siblings. S.C. from the Panhandle*
If your mother was not married, it is most likely that you and your siblings are going to inherit her estate in equal shares, including the house. This can only happen legally when one or all of you hire a lawyer to open a probate process in Court. You must open probate to determine who inherits and to transfer the title of property into the heir(s) name(s). From what you presented above, you will not obtain title of your mother’s house without the participation and agreement of your siblings.
To do this most efficiently and correctly, hire an experienced Oklahoma probate attorney to help you through the court filings and procedures. During the probate process a judge can order the titles to everything your mother owned (whether by deeds, contracts, or joint ownerships) to be put into the names of the people the law allows to inherit. Only when the judge orders that retitling can single-owner property of any kind – a house, car, bank account, art collection, etc. – be owned by someone besides the person who died while owning it.
In other words: You are not able to just put the house in your name. You must file probate for your mother’s estate so the judge can make the required court order that each item of her property goes to the person(s) Oklahoma law says are to inherit.
Please see an estate attorney for help with probating your mother’s estate. Next, spend some time with your attorney making your own estate plan, if you’d like to prevent your family from having to go through the time and expense of probate.
To your success,
Gale Allison, Attorney
*Originally published in March 2017 in the Gale Allison, PLLC website’s Asked & Answered blog based on questions from the public. Tags: No Will, Intestate, Property transfer, and Probate. Gale Allison handles estate matters only: Probate, Estate or Trust Administration; Estate Litigation; Estate Planning; Business Succession Planning; and Estate-related Tax Issues at Schaffer Herring PLLC in Tulsa, OK. She also mediates Estate and Family disputes nationally, exclusively through Dispute Resolution Consultants (DRC-OK).